Saturday, 13 January 2018

Maintenance Update (winterisation, hydrostatic, washout, rod)

Wednesday 10th
2807 arrived back safe & sound, if a little mucky! We suspect that she came down the motorway backwards, and all of the road spray covered the inside of the cab. Loco Dept [Pete Y. as shunter] coupled loco & tender and shunted her round to Road 8. Gilbert hosed down the cab, to get rid of much of the filth, then work began on ‘winterisation’.

Bruce tackled the injectors, removing their innards for safekeeping (to avoid risk of frost damage). JC pointed out that there are two outstanding issues on the report (though no issues reported by Llangollen at all), and one of those is the stuck J-cocks (reported in 2015, I think!). So, Bruce had a go at those, assisted by David since he was already in the cab. The right-hand one opens now, but the left one is still struggling hard to resist Bruce’s muscle power.

David decided to have a go at the hydrostatic lubricator. All you have to do is remove the five sight glasses. 😊 Their rubbers do their best to stop the glass from coming out. David beat four of them into submission, and finally managed to break the fifth one. Furthermore, another appeared to have a scratch on the inside of the glass, so that one was rejected. David cleaned up the lubricator and the three glasses, while I located new rubbers and two new glasses.

Photo shows David cleaning, while Bruce is checking the list of ‘winterisation’ tasks. Note that I had removed the two pressure gauges (they are in the green box). I decided to leave the vacuum gauge until I had confirmation that we have the ability to test that.

If you zoom-in, you might see that the gauge frame has been dismantled. This always gets a new glass at washout time.

John T spent the day preparing for work on the right-hand valve. He began with removing the lamp bracket; then removing all of the bolts from the running board panel in front of the valve, then the flap has to come off. The main problem is that all of these bolts are round-headed and can be a challenge to undo. Finally, John removed the cladding pieces and loosened some of the nuts on the front of the valve cover.

John G began by applying a primer coat to four chairs in the boot scraper production line. This gave the rest of us time to remove bits & pieces for John to clean up. Photo shows very shiny gauge frame components ready for me to reassemble. John went on to clean various controls in the cab, getting the filth off of them that had not simply hosed off. Later he gave Gilbert a hand removing washout plugs.

Gil began the day by removing mudhole doors. The trick with these is to screw a large loop into the stud so that the whole thing cannot drop inside the boiler. Well, that works most of the time, but for some of the doors you have to then remove the loop otherwise the stud fights the boiler cladding, and the door will not come out. Ideally, you can tie some string round the stud for safety at this point, but while John T was looking for string, it came out anyway.

Two Loco Dept chaps gave Gil a hand removing washout plugs - Nigel Y and Pete Y. Pete cleaned up the plugs and the mudhole doors too. By end of play, there were two obstinate plugs, and Mark Y [everyone is a Y today!] and Pete had another go. Pete had one of them in his hand as I left.

I disconnected the coil in the cab roof to drain water out. Then there was the gauge frame. Later, I snook away and applied an enamel coat to five chairs towards the end of the production line! Bruce and I helped Clive N [Loco Dept] verify that all equipment that went to Llan did come back! Some items that didn’t go (such as our spanners) were returned to the loco tool box. There does appear to be one scotch (aka chock) missing, that’s all. We both went round checking that everything that needed to be done for ‘winterisation’ had been done (e.g. tender drains open; steam heating valves open and injector drain open).

Saturday 13th
Washout time! Gil volunteered to test the new waterproof gear. It took all morning plus a little after lunch. Lots of the plug-holes are required in order to wash the entire inside of the boiler. There is probably an efficient sequence, but we just started at the back, moved to the front and then finished off at the back again.

When you wash out the front, the water (plus debris) swills down to the lowest point - the firebox end. Maybe we should start at the front?

This was a team effort: Gil was at the sharp end. Bruce was next in line, holding the hose and taking the weight for Gil. David was sometimes laying down peering at the colour of the water as it came out, and sometimes manning the sharp end to give Gil a break. John T was operating the water pump (greatly impressed that it has an electric starter motor). Rob was operating the hose on/off switch.

Communicating the request for on/off was sometimes a challenge, depending on noise level and line of sight. So, at times I was mid-way, giving hand signals!

The grey patch by Gil’s head, covering the top half of the smokebox, is actually one of the many leaks in the hose, spraying a fine mist into the air.

As official team photographer, I couldn’t possibly get too involved with this, of course. 😊

Actually, I had boot scraper tasks to do: we sold three today; plus I took one more away to be couriered to its new owner.

The loco was then shunted back into the shed and the loco & tender parted. This will enable the tender to be pulled out, emptied of coal and given a clean plus a bitumen paint without disturbing the loco. Despite the fact that it was already 3 pm, we made a start on removing the left leading coupling rod that needs new bushes.

Rob at end of con rod

Con rod off …

… and parked

The leading coupling rod to be removed

End of (lots of) play for today!


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